Lent and Choosing Your Fast

5 Feb

This month, we enter the season of Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is observed for the forty days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. Forty is a significant number, as it mimics the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, repentance of sins, fasting, and giving. For over a thousand years, Christians have observed this practice as a way of preparing their hearts for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. Through self-denial, we rid ourselves of vices and distractions, freeing ourselves to grow in our relationships with God. Traditionally, people have fasted from food. While this is still a healthy practice, I encourage you to consider the variety of ways we can fast this year. Consider fasting from media, whether it’s television or facebook, and giving that time to devotion or service instead. Fast from spending money on unnecessary and frivolous things, and instead practice contentment with what you already have. Perhaps you need a fast from people. Find time to take solitary walks, where God is your companion. Outdoors-men may even benefit from a camping trip alone, where a day or weekend can be devoted to prayer, self-examination and scripture reading. It may also be beneficial to use Lent as an opportunity to rid oneself of nasty vices, like gossip or over-indulgence of any kind. For people like me, this may mean saying “No” to desserts. It’s not that sugar gets in the way of my relationship with God per-say, but gluttony brings no glory to God and endangers the body God gave me and intends to use for His good purposes.

Spend some time in prayer over the next couple weeks. Ask God what kind of fast you need in your life this Lenten season. If the Holy Spirit convicts you, then be obedient. We will all share in the fast together, encouraging one another, and growing in grace as the people of God.

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